Saturday, March 26, 2016

Gravely Guarded

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, `After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, `He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. Matthew 27:57-66

It seems a long wait from Maundy Thursday, through Good Friday, until Easter. The disciples, family and friends were simply deep in grief, not waiting for anything in particular, just brokenhearted and inconsolable. They were broken people. They left Jesus' burial to another. They couldn't cope with all they had seen. The religious leaders were waiting and fearful for they had heard his promise. They thought these broken people would rise up and still the body away. They spent the royal coffers to make sure that an uprising would not happen. They overlooked the grief and the sadness, thinking it all an act. 

In this day and age, people hardly know what Easter is truly about. They dye eggs and hunt for them, but miss the deepest meaning, the hardest truths and the darkness of humanity. For some, it's simply about the coming of spring and fancy clothes and dinners. But for the faithful present over these days, we know that love broke the back of death, sin and evil. Despite the world's plotting, the need for might and winning, despite the gross misconduct of the strong and selfish - despite it all, Jesus will brake the bonds of death and all that is evil. Waiting is no joy, but the anticipation and angst cannot overshadow the possibility that love will rule the day, that servant hood and selflessness will guide our feet in the days to come. 

May we wait and pray, knowing that the sufferings of these hours have a miraculous resolution. May we abide in the darkened room, draw close to the tomb, and live expectantly for love and love alone to rise.

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